TL;DR – These are the Best Gaming PCs
1. Asus ROG Strix GL12
Best Gaming PC
The Asus ROG Strix GL12 features practically all the modern accouterments you see from a modern gaming PC such as integrated RGB lighting, a tempered glass side panel, and even a PSU shroud to cover up the power supply. One of the more unique features of the Asus ROG Strix GL12 is it includes hot-swappable 2.5″ drive, making it easy to add a new SSD or hard drive to expand this system’s storage.
Beyond its appearance, this is a wholly modern gaming PC packing a 9th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with an Nvidia RTX 2080. All that power tucked inside allows you to play modern, ray-traced games for years to come. And thanks to a heavy discount, this compact gaming PC is actually reasonably priced for the hardware included.
2. CyberPower Gamer Xtreme
Best Budget Gaming PC
We get it, PC gaming is expensive. Not everyone has the budget for a balls-to-the-wall gaming monstrosity, and that’s okay. There are some decent budget-friendly gaming PC options out there. Right now, I think the CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme is a tough option to beat, with a six-core Intel Core i5-9400 CPU and Nvidia GTX 1660, all for only $800.
It won’t play everything maxed out at 4K, but for 1080p gaming at medium to high settings, it’ll do the job—and it comes with a gaming mouse and gaming keyboard to boot. There’s even a small SSD included on the base model, which you could always upgrade down the road or buy a more powerful version of the Gamer Xtreme VR with a bigger drive. Also, since CyberPowerPC’s rigs tend to use lots of off-the-shelf parts and tool-less installation methods, swapping in better parts down the line is a breeze.
3. Corsair One i45
Best Compact Gaming PC
The Corsair One isn’t the smallest PC on the market, but its power-to-size ratio is as good as it gets from a desktop with this footprint. And while it isn’t cheap, it’s actually a decent value, considering the parts inside, and how compact it is.
The design of this prebuilt PC is cool without being too flashy, as it sports some subtle lighting and small triangular vents along the side. Meanwhile, processor and graphics card are liquid-cooled for cool and quiet performance, and it comes with six USB ports, four of which are USB 3.1.
There are three models and the lower-end variant featured above comes with an Intel Core i7-9700K processor and Nvidia RTX 2080. If you need even more power, consider the One i160, which has a more powerful i9-9900K CPU and RTX 2080 Ti GPU than the i140 model linked above. For the most out-of-this-world performance, you might want the One i180 model, which ups the power again with a 12-core Intel Core X CPU.
Even the base model can handle VR like a champ and 4K gaming at playable frame rates, and while it isn’t as upgradeable as a larger system, it’s a solid contender for any gamer looking for a compact, quiet, and powerful rig.
4. Alienware Aurora
Best Upgradeable Gaming PC
The Alienware Aurora is one of the most unique and compact prebuilt PC on the market but we especially like it since it’s so upgradable. Dell offers a huge range of options you can customize including Coffee Lake Refresh processors starting with a basic Intel Core i5-9400 all the way to the freshly released Core i9-9900KS. There’s also a Ryzen Edition version of the Aurora if you want even more processor cores. As for graphics, the base model starts with an Nvidia GTX 1650, but you can get up to a Nvidia RTX 2080 Super or RTX 2080 Ti.
Aside from what you can add on while in the cart, the Alienware Aurora is immensely easy to upgrade on your own. You don’t need a screwdriver to replace the memory or graphics card and all the storage (aside from the M.2 drive) glides in on tool-less sleds. These are all handy features for anyone who likes fiddling inside their PCs.
5. Dell XPS Tower Special Edition
Best Sleeper Gaming PC
If you prefer a gaming PC with a more unassuming design, the Dell XPS Tower Special Edition puts powerful gaming hardware into a sleek-but-plain chassis, so no one will know you’re not using it for work. The base model comes with a six-core Intel i5-8400 CPU and Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti. That’ll handle basic gaming just fine, but Dell also lets you customize your rig to include up to an i7-9900K and GTX 1080. That version will run you around $3,000 but there’s a lot of options in between, including 4K and VR-ready configurations.
The case is surprisingly compact, but it still boasts four USB 3.1 ports on the front and seven USB ports around the back. What’s more, you get the same tool-less design as the Alienware Aurora for super easy upgrades. If you want a gaming PC that doesn’t look like a typical gaming PC, the reserved Dell XPS Tower line is a great option.
6. Zotac Mek Mini
Best Mini Gaming PC
Smaller than any other gaming PC on this list, the Zotac Mek Mini is the tiniest PC we’ve seen. Despite its small size, it still packs a wallop with an Intel Core i5 processor and Nvidia RTX 2070. These two powerhouse parts make this a very capable machine for 1440p and even 4K gaming—depending on the title.
The Zotac Mek Mini is the perfect desktop to take on the road, and thanks to its incredibly small size, it can fit basically anywhere. While you might think upgrading such a tiny thing will be a pain, flipping a single switch grants access to the system’s memory and storage. Best of all, it’s priced at an agreeable price of $1,500.
7. MSI Trident 3
Best Console-Style Prebuilt PC for Your Living Room
Let’s say you’re a big fan of PC gaming, but you like the couch-friendly experience of the Xbox One S or PS4 Slim. Nothing quite beats kicking back with a gamepad controller and playing games on your big-screen gaming TV, but consoles still can’t beat the PC’s do-anything nature, high level of configurability, or cheap Steam Sale games. Enter the MSI Trident Mini PC, which proudly boasts its console-sized dimensions.
It’s available in a few different versions, with prices ranging from $800 to $1,300 depending on the CPU and GPU you select. The above model is the highest-end model that comes with a Core i7-9700F and GTX 1660 Ti, so it’s a great system for 1080p and 1440p gameplay—plus a just playable 30fps experience at 4K. It’s VR-ready, too, so if you want to explore the virtual worlds from the confines of your living room, the MSI Trident 3 is, well, great.
8. Lenovo Legion C730
Best Cube Gaming PC
If you’re tight on space and want a gaming PC, a cube desktop like the Lenovo might be just the thing for you. Cube Gaming PCs are squatter than your average gaming desktop tower, but still long and wide enough to incorporate full-sized PC components, which makes them a nice middle ground between a regular computer and a mini rig.
You can load up the Lenovo Legion C730 with quite a lot of power with up to Intel Core i9 CPUs and Nvidia RTX 2080 graphics. I’ve decided to feature the mid-range option which features an Intel Core i7-9700K and Nvidia RTX 2070.
9. Omen Desktop
It’s Just a Tower Gaming PC
If you’re thinking I just want a regular tower after looking through mini-PCs, cube PC, and a gaming PC that’s basically a triangle, the Omen Desktop is the system for you. It’s about as normal as gaming PC get from the major brands, but it still incorporates a few tricks like the two top panels that open to reveal hot-swappable hard drive bays.
The system is pretty well loaded as far as gaming PCs go. Users can configure their system with up to an Intel Core i7-9700K processor and Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti graphics as seen above. It costs a pretty penny at $2,350, but it’s a solid system that will take anything on and is easy to upgrade without tools.
10. Origin PC Genesis Gaming Desktop
The Most Customizable Gaming PC
This Origin Genesis gaming PC can be tricked out in countless, insanely awesome ways. If a single RTX 2080 card isn’t enough, why not 2? Or how about a pair of “Origin Cryogenic Liquid Cooled 11GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti” cards? That option is a few extra thousand dollars, but the sky’s the limit with an Origin PC. The sheer volume of customization options makes this a great choice for your next PC.
What to Look For in a Gaming PC
Below I go over the basic specifications you should prioritize when buying a gaming PC and how to get the most of your purchase of a prebuilt rig. I also explain a few alternative prebuilt gaming PC options you might find of interest as well.
Prebuilt gaming PCs are the most surefire way of getting into gaming and arguably the most cost-effective hardware you can buy. When buying a system, you’re not only getting the hardware inside but time savings of having to track down the best processor to best RAM for your system and putting it all together yourself and praying it actually boots up correctly.
That said, just like building your own PC you want to make sure you’re spending your money where it’s needed most. Firstly, you should prioritize you’re getting the graphics card you need for the gaming monitor or the 4K TV you’re gaming on. There’s no need for anything better than an Nvidia GTX 1660 if you’re just playing games on a 1080p display.
Likewise, you should only need an Intel Core i5 or Ryzen 5 processor with at least four cores to play most modern games comfortably at any resolution.
System memory and solid-state drives can be the biggest money sink for any system. Those comfortable with upgrading their system after it arrives should choose a configuration with the smallest storage and RAM capacities possible, as buying these components yourself can often be more cost-effective.
If that last suggestion resonates with you, perhaps a barebones system is what you seek. Barebones PCs can be much cheaper since they come with all the major hardware—such as the CPU, GPU, and power supply—installed, but they usually lack storage, memory and an operating system as a trade-off.
Lastly, if you want more control over what exactly is going into your build, go with a boutique PC builder. Origin, Maingear, DigitalStorm, Falcon Northwest, PC Specialist, and many more companies offer excellent PC building services that let you pick exactly which components go into your gaming PC. From there, they build your system with the sort of cable management some can only dream of while ensuring it all works properly out of the box.
In case this all sounds a little overwhelming to you, NZXT rolled out its own PC building service called BLD. Instead of picking each and every part that will go into your PC, you chose the games you’ll actually play and the service gives you several configuration options that will be able to run the games for a smooth experience.
Similarly, iBuyPower offers an Easy Builder service that operates in very much the same fashion. Users can select games that they play from a small pool that includes Fortnite, GTA V, Apex Legends, WoW, League of Legends, Overwatch, and Battlefield V. From there, users can select whether they play at a 1080p or 1440p resolution as well as their budget and the system will spit back a few configurations to choose from.
Beyond chosing the components you need, prebuilt PC’s come with a number of features and pieces of software you might find convienent. Many gaming PCs in this category come with some sort of overclocking support and even one-click button to boost your system’s performance. Of course, it’s easy enough to download a piece of overclocking software like MSI Afterburner or EVGA Precision X. Additionally, gaming PC may come with system monitoring software that makes downloading and updating drivers a breeze.
Life after purchase
Another important thing you’ll want to keep in mind when buying a prebuilt gaming PC is how easy is it to upgrade down the line.
Most PC manufacturers have figured out users absolutely hate proprietary parts. While you might still find a no-name motherboards installed into the hearth of your PC, they should all at least fall in line with the standard size and layout of Mini ITX or Micro ATX motherboards. The best gaming PCs should allow you to easily swap out the CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage on your system with just a few simple tools or just a screwdriver.
Better yet, systems that tout tool-less upgradability don’t require you to undo screws or anything to replace any of the major components. One of the things you’ll likely find on most modern chassis are thumbscrews, which can be removed after a few quick twists with your fingers rather than a screwdriver. Additionally, tool-less SSD and hard drive caddies make expanding and replacing your storage just a little bit easier.
Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam